'Cool Planet' projects biofuel-production cost of $1.50 per gallon

Oct 25, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org)—Cool Planet Energy Systems has announced a projected production cost for its biofuel, made from corn cobs and stover (dried stalks and leaves of cereal crops), of just $1.50 per gallon sans the benefit of government subsidies. Company representatives also said they have completed a successful test trial of a newly developed process for converting feed stock to fuel, and that Google has been field testing the results with fleet vehicles.

The company has a test facility in Camarillo, CA that creates by pressing feedstock between plates under high pressure, and then placing the plates in a device called a fractionator. This process results in a release of a gas which is then captured and then converted, using catalysts, to a liquid. The resultant fuel is mixed with gasoline. In tests thus far, the company has used a mixture composed of 5 percent and 95 percent gasoline. fleet vehicles—part of its GRide on-demand campus vehicle program—have traveled 2,400 miles on this mixture to-date.

In separate testing, Cool Planet fueled one car with the biofuel mixture and a control car with 100 percent gasoline and found that the test-fueled car met the Low Carbon Fuel Standard California has set for 2020. They also ran both cars though five smog tests and found no measurable differences between them.

The company claims the new biofuel is actually carbon negative because a byproduct of the production process is activated carbon, which can be used as a soil enhancer. They also note that their process doesn't require the use of any .

Cool Planet says the new biofuel can be made in a manufacturing facility just one-hundredth the size of traditional gasoline refineries. These micro-refineries—which can reportedly produce 10 million gallons of fuel per year—are potentially transportable. This capability would allow for on-site production, thereby removing the environmental impact of shipping from a central production facility.

Because of the fuel's early success so far, Cool Planet has attracted investors such as BP, Google Ventures, General Electric, the Constellation Energy division of Exelon, NRG and ConocoPhillips.

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Sonhouse
5 / 5 (3) Oct 25, 2012
So one question popping up in my mind, is 5% added to gasoline the limit? We get 10% alcohol treated gas here as a matter of course.

Could it be used with alcohol to pump that combo up to 15% alcohol/bio fuel and 85% gasoline, for instance?

Is 5% bio fuel the limit percentwise?

The title is a bit misleading. If the bio fuel is made for $1.50 a gallon, that only reduces the price of the total fuel by a couple percent.
Irene_Bea
1 / 5 (5) Oct 25, 2012
I smell something out of this pipe!
There is only one answer to the energy problem. That is Solar to Hydrogen.
Control of the worlds energy has been the object of world power since the discovery of fire! OIl became the dominant energy source in modern times.
When Solar becomes the main source, civilization will make a Quantum Leap into an anarchy of states. This will be the beginning of human speciation!!!
be4r
3 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2012
I smell something out of this pipe!
There is only one answer to the energy problem. That is Solar to Hydrogen.
Control of the worlds energy has been the object of world power since the discovery of fire! OIl became the dominant energy source in modern times.
When Solar becomes the main source, civilization will make a Quantum Leap into an anarchy of states. This will be the beginning of human speciation!!!


Is that smell coming out of your pipe then?
dschlink
5 / 5 (1) Oct 25, 2012
Sounds like an updated Bischof process, followed by Fischer–Tropsch synthesis.
VendicarD
3.3 / 5 (9) Oct 25, 2012
These filthy scientists must be stopped now before they reduce Oil Industry profits.

Biofuel is Pure Communism.
Lurker2358
3.7 / 5 (9) Oct 25, 2012
These filthy scientists must be stopped now before they reduce Oil Industry profits.

Biofuel is Pure Communism.


Careful with the sarcasm.

An unwitting newcomer who doesn't know who you are might come to believe those are your true beliefs, seeing as how there's not much difference between that post and the ones made by the ultra-conservatives.
Dug
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 25, 2012
Yesterday algae and terrestrial biofuels were outed by the National Research Counsel - as being unsustainable and dependent on petroleum (petroleum/fertilizer industry being the primary beneficiary of biofuel development) derived NPK - more than half of which is presently imported by the US. Sad part is that all of the mass balance studies have been saying this for years.

http://www.reuter...20121024
randith
2.5 / 5 (2) Oct 25, 2012
Science meets economics. I guess they'll have to redesign the harvesting process, before it reaches mass production. I hope that doesn't bring any unexpected costs.

BTW: I'm conservative but I won't feed the trolls. http://xkcd.com/386/
Neurons_At_Work
not rated yet Oct 25, 2012
Yesterday algae and terrestrial biofuels were outed by the National Research Counsel - as being unsustainable and dependent on petroleum (petroleum/fertilizer industry being the primary beneficiary of biofuel development) derived NPK - more than half of which is presently imported by the US. Sad part is that all of the mass balance studies have been saying this for years.

http://www.reuter...20121024

I read your comment on Reuters--well said. I don't think it's general knowledge that NPK fertilizers are petroleum-based. This is a big time concern not just as it relates to algal-derived fuels, but for food crop production in general. Soils are now so depleted in most cases that without this added fertilizer overall crop production would decrease dramatically. The day will certainly come when this will need to be addressed, and frankly I have no idea at this point what a viable solution might be...
ForFreeMinds
1.5 / 5 (2) Oct 26, 2012
This is excellent, in that the cost of the fuel is only $1.5/gallon. Given they use a 5% mixture, it only saves ten cents for each gallon of fuel you put in the car. Still it's better than nothing. Much bigger benefits will arise if they can develop an economic motor that uses only this fuel.
loneislander
1 / 5 (1) Oct 26, 2012
Biofuel, aka alcohol, has less heat energy per unit volume than petroleum (gas) and it is hard on engines if it is not completely burned out of the engine before shutting down. That someone has driven 2400 miles on a particular fuel is like declaring a swimming pool "salty" after tossing in a packet from the diner down the road.

I'll bet the $1.50 figure turns out to be that ~the 5% they add~ to each gallon costs a buck fifty. If they don't have acres of active processing capacity and material from tens of thousands of acres of cropland (which mostly needs irrigation down there don't it?), then this $1.50 per gallon figure is just a big lie to keep stock prices up until their ~anti dump-and-run~ moratorium runs out.
loneislander
1 / 5 (1) Oct 26, 2012
Another tell-tale on this company is that they have a VP of Strategic Planning, a VP of Strategic Relations, and a VP of Business Relations out of an executive of 10 persons with only two technical roles.

This is the standard "Guy invents something in back yard. The thing is amusing but fails for a number of reasons (typically where entropy meets price or something -- something inherently unsolvable). Guy's friend is a financial guru who knows how to 'pump the handle' and gets to work. Guy never fesses up and keeps digging for gold knowing that as long as there's sweat on his brow the bean-counters (and bean gatherers) will stay busy and happy." Sort of thing...
Shakescene21
5 / 5 (1) Oct 26, 2012


I'll bet the $1.50 figure turns out to be that ~the 5% they add~ to each gallon costs a buck fifty. If they don't have acres of active processing capacity and material from tens of thousands of acres of cropland (which mostly needs irrigation down there don't it?), then this $1.50 per gallon figure is just a big lie


Didn't you read the article? This product is made from waste biomass from crops that havs already been harvested. The processing plants take up less land than comparable petroleum-refining plants.
ricarguy
2.5 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2012
The article does not state and no one above asks what the "magic" biofuel actually is? At a max of 5%, and from the feedstock mentioned, it would have to be methanol? Corrosive stuff in vehicle fuel systems, necessitating the 5% limit. It would almost certainly be instead of, not in addition to, the 10% ethanol that is in most of our gasoline already. Perhaps an improved method of production, perhaps.

BTW, you libs like Vendicar or perhaps Lurker? seem to have no understanding what conservatism is about. That is to let a free market decide the best solution, not some centrally planned statist decree by elites who somehow think they know better and start purposely tilting and bending the game board. A free market is how their sacred theory of "Evolution" actually works in nature. Curious how the concept gets abandoned in their own opinionated world-view. First set the game board flat, and then let the chips fall where they may.